Located in downtown Tenjin, the popular Fukuoka City Central Children’s Center is the only such facility in the city. The facility, closed since its demolition in 2014, reopened this April and has been given the moniker of Aikuru. Aikuru is a coinage based on the words aikurushii (adorable)— like the smiling faces of the children—and ai ni kuru (come to meet)—in reference to the facility’s role a meeting place for people of all ages.
The new center is not only a place for kids’ activities; it also serves as a venue where parents can receive child-rearing support. It has a fitness room with a bouldering wall and other exercise equipment, a multipurpose room, a rehearsal room, an arts and crafts room, study booths, and a small library. You can also borrow unicycles and roller skates for use in the open-air rooftop play area.
Another important role of the children’s center is as a provider of childcare support services. There is an hourly drop-in childcare service for infants and toddlers as well as occasional childrearing consultations and seminars. Throughout the year, a wide range of events, including puppet theater shows and toy repair workshops, and club activities (e.g., dance, crafts, shogi (Japanese chess) and more) are held.
Although the old center gave the impression that services focused on small children and elementary school students, the new center is attracting more users from junior and senior high schools. The first three floors of the building in which the center is located are occupied by private businesses, including Kyushu’s first-ever Sony Store. Some of the IT companies in the building also hold workshops for kids, so be sure to stop by and check out the new-and-improved Central Children’s Center. It’s fun for all ages!
Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn210, Jun. 2016)